In a few short hours, Alison and I will take on the Chinese equivalent of the day before Thanksgiving--all of Beijing is leaving (via plane, train, or bus) to go home for the week-long vacation of National Holiday. Pray that we pull a Moses and are able to weave our way through a Red Sea of Chinese people to get our tuckeses to the airport in time for our flight. Getting there will suck (and we budgeted 3.5 hours from apt to check in, which is 3x longer than it should take), but once we're out of the city, it'll be glorious. We're going camel trekking, desert camping, yurt-sleeping, route-to-Pakistan exploring, and (if Alison doesn't restrain me) hardcore-tchotchke buying. Apparently, there's tons of silk factories there that originated during the time of the Silk Road, so we were thinking of buying some yards of silk to bring back to the talented tailors of Beijing...but need advice as to what exactly we could make out of it. The only thing I can come up with is to get Blake, my dad, Ben, and me specially tailored Hugh-Hefner-esque pajamas...so, as you can see, I need your suggestions.
More importantly, we're not going to have access to email/internet until Thursday, Oct 7th, when we return to our apartment with our first visitors, Courtney and Stacy! Alison and I are both really excited to show her fam (and our first guests!) around. Expect a bit of a dry spell before a flurry of posts about our trip in Kashgar and also our adventures with the Rosenbergs as soon as we have time to put them online.
Also, because I am here on a research fellowship and haven't really spoken about what I'm researching, I decided to give a quick blurb for those of you who were wondering what exactly I've been up to. Granted, it's not nearly as fun as Alison's job (and...no offense to my colleagues, but they aren't nearly as cute as Alison's students), but here goes:
CICAMS has collaborated with the Cleveland Clinic (shout out, Abelson fam!) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer for the last 13 years and have conducted a gabillion studies on 17 research sites throughout China. I'm taking all of their data (well, actually, they've taken the data, made graphs, and given me the graphs), and using the 30,000 women they've studied to estimate the how many women in China have Human Papillomavirus (HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer...and that you get the Gardasil vaccine to prevent) as well as precancerous and cancerous cervical issues. After I write that paper, which we are submitting to Lancet by Nov 1 (I don't anticipate being accepted, but they're having a special issue on public health in China, so people here are keeping their fingers crossed), I'm going to use the same data to write up a paper discussing cytology results for different tests. Dr. Smith, my UNC mentor, also sent me a paper to finish up...and while I'm writing the last two papers, I'm going to be researching with Sarah's twin, helping her with data collection, data analysis, and paper writing. Then, finally, once all that is done, I'll develop the protocol for that public health intervention I was hoping to do and that project will become a big focus for next year and the follow year's Fogarty scholars here. It's a 5-year study, so my job is to basically outline the entire project and get it off the ground, which is easier said than done. All in all, it's tons of work, mostly writing (which I am happy about because I love academic writing and it's something I feel that I'm good at), and it's nice to use my brain once in a while.
Hope everyone is well. Miss you guys.